‘I woke up one morning and half my hair had gone’
BRENDA FINN, 34, a candlemaker, discovered she had alopecia universalis – a condition that results in a complete loss of hair, the causes of which are unknown – when she was 14.
‘I’ve worked hard to get to the stage where I can even take a photo of myself. I was 14 when it happened. One night I went to bed with my hair and the next morning I woke up with just half of it. In the space of four weeks, my long hair had gone, and so had the hair from my arms, eyebrows, nostrils – you name it, it all just disappeared.
‘My parents saved up enough money to buy me a wig, but back in 1999 they weren’t great. I don’t think that helped my self-confidence, but nowadays I think, if people can’t take me for how I look, that’s their problem, not mine. I still get frustrated when people assume I’m not feminine: we’re brought up from such a young age to believe that our femininity is dependent on our hair and our appearance. People are still surprised to this day when they see me wearing a dress.
‘I uploaded my first selfie without my wig about five years ago, after I was inspired by Jessie J shaving her head. I was a bit nervous about doing it. I thought people might have avoided commenting or liking the picture, but I’d say it’s been about 80 per cent positive. You do get people who shoot off a quick comment, such as “Hi, baldy”, because they find it entertaining, but they don’t realise that words like that can stay with you for weeks.’